Italian Sausage and Cabbage Stew

Brrrr, it’s cold outside. We had a warm spell for a few days, sunny, high 60s, but now the storms have returned and Sacramento is getting a good chilly drenching. Perfect timing for a big pot of warm and filling cabbage stew. This is an Italian version, using Savoy cabbage (the round, wrinkly cabbage which has a milder taste than regular cabbage), Italian sausage, white beans, fresh parsley, and Parmesan cheese. I’m so used to German treatments of cabbage, I’m surprised at how good this stew is with the Italian sausage and Parmesan. I don’t usually think of Parm and cabbage paired together, but they really do work in this stew. Easy to make and easy on the budget. Buon appetito!

Italian Sausage and Cabbage Stew Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8 to 10.

We use savoy cabbage for this recipe, but you could use regular cabbage, or even collard greens or dinosaur kale. If you want to make this stew vegetarian, leave out the sausage and double the beans.



  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, bulk, or removed from casings
  • 1 large yellow onion, half sliced and half minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine
  • 1 15-ounce can of white beans (cannellini, Great Northern, or Navy), drained
  • 1 quart vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • 1 2-pound savoy cabbage, quartered, then sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup chopped parsley, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup to a cup of freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese for garnish


1 Heat the olive oil on medium-high heat in a large (8-quart), thick-bottomed pot. Add the sausage, breaking it up into pieces as you put it into the pot in a single layer. When the sausage has nicely browned, remove it with a slotted spoon and set aside.


2 Add the minced onion (save the sliced onion for later) and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Once the onions give up some of their water, use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

3 Add the white wine and the beans and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. If you want, for a thicker base, use an immersion blender to blend some (or all) of the beans and onions.


4 Add the water, stock, salt, cabbage, sliced onion half, bay leaves and browned sausage. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, then uncover and continue cooking until the cabbage is tender, about another 10-20 minutes.

To serve, sprinkle on chopped parsley and grated cheese.

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Italian Kale, Sausage and Cannellini Bean Soup, with Tomatoes - from Eclectic Recipes
Cabbage Soup with Bread and Fontina Cheese - from Mosels & Musings
Sausage, Kale and Pasta Soup - from For the Love of Cooking


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Showing 4 of 68 Comments

  • Elise R.

    This sounds incredible. My husband’s family is very Italian, but every Christmas they make pounds and pounds of sauerkraut. And I love it! Sauerkraut and coleslaw being my only exposure to cabbage, I’m excited for a new recipe to try it in.

  • JoD

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. It sort of reminded me of a favorite dish my Italian gradmother made, which was a real money saver. Just steam chopped cabbage, saute garlic to taste in enough butter to coat cabbage, and toss all with parmesan cheese. Great, inexpensive side dish.

  • Dan

    Any suggestions for the white wine?

    I think it’s flexible. Actually for this last batch I used some leftover champagne. Usually I recommend a dry white wine for cooking, such as a Sauvignon Blanc. But basically the best guideline is to use a wine that you like to drink. ~Elise

  • randi

    Wow this will go great with the bread I am making for the first time for dinner tomorrow. haha hopefully it won’t be hollow.

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